Pondering Job in a Pandemic – Chapter 35

A lot of Christians are functional Deists. Elihu seems to be as well.

A Deist believe God exists. They believe God is the Creator. They believe He may one day return to set things right in His creation. But in the meantime, He is distant and has nothing to do with our everyday lives.

Elihu has a firm grasp of God’s transcendence: The attribute of God that refers to being wholly and distinctly separate from creation… The declaration that God is transcendent means that God is “above” the world and comes to creation from “beyond.” (Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki, and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 115.) Let’s be frank, a lot of professing Christians today have even a low view of this. They see God has rather small and not a lot different than us.

Elihu though does not seem to grasp God’s immanence: The idea that God is present in, close to and involved with creation. Unlike pantheism, which teaches that God and the world are one or that God is the “soul” (animating principle) of the world, Christian theology teaches that God is constantly involved with creation without actually becoming exhausted by creation or ceasing to be divine in any way. (Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki, and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 63.)

Elihu presents God in chapter 35 as completely disconnected and relatively disinterested in Job or the affairs of mankind. Our sins effect others and we suffer the natural consequences. To claim you are pleading your case before God and waiting for Him, as Job has done, Elihu seems to say is a waste of time.

As stated above, many today have a very mixed up view of God, one not properly informed by Scripture. On one hand God is “like us”, we’re told. He is like a good friend. This isn’t immanence. This is making God small and powerless. On the other hand, God is distant and unconcerned. He is out there somewhere and He may engage with us or His creation again someday but not today. This isn’t transcendence. This is casting God in the likeness of some mythological deity, not understanding Him as He has revealed Himself in His word.

God will soon reveal Himself to Job as both immanent and transcendent. Yet, we’ve already seen Him as such in chapters 1 & 2 – background, Job doesn’t have.

God dwells in the heavens {transcendence} (Job 1:6; 2:1) and does all that He pleases {immanence} (Job 1:8, 12; 2:3, 6) [Psalm 115:3].

Remember Satan did not come to God seeking to test Job. God initiated the conversation, God brought Job to Satan’s attention. Not once, but twice.

And let us remember, this is life-stabilising, Good News!

Satan is a roaring and prowling lion to be sure. Even more we experience suffering in this life that is sometimes the direct consequence for our sin. Yet still we also experience suffering in this life that is simply the result of living in a Fallen world.

In all of this, the life-stabilising Good News is that the God of Heaven, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe the One Who reigns and rules over all things, gloriously transcendent is, at the very same time, intimately at work in my life Personally administering and overseeing all that occurs for my good and His glory (immanence).

Soli Deo Gloria

Items to focus your faith: